Turkey Fryer; Awful, Bad, And Worse

Tomorrow’s turkey day here in the United States. Do you fully expect your trashy neighbor to burn down his house while trying to cook a holiday feast? To see what’s in store for your neighborhood we’ve rounded up a great collection of idiots deep frying turkeys.


Let’s set up the fryer on our wooden deck… now that it’s a flaming pyre what should we do?


“Ow my toes” – Boiling oil v. sandals


Get the extinguisher… wait, I don’t think that’s working.


Let’s learn about liquid displacement.


[Alton Brown], the consummate kitchen hacker, has been kind enough to share the safe method of deep frying turkey. This includes how to measure for liquid displacement, and how to build a derrick (PDF) to lower the turkey into the pot from a safe distance.

33 thoughts on “Turkey Fryer; Awful, Bad, And Worse

  1. Mr. Brown, while often right on the matters of ktichen might be overkill.

    Then again, I was talking to a guy talking about frying inside because it’s “too cold outside” and thought about doing it in the bath tub in case it caught fire….so I’m not too sure anymore.

    Anywho, I fully plan on frying a turkey tomorrow. Done properly, you can an easily cooked turkey that has a marginal amount of calories added.

  2. The fires you see is because the subhumanoids deep frying the turkeys obviously had someone sh!t in their gene pool.

    Alton Brown’s method is for pussies. You can safely lower a turkey into the pot at 375 degrees and regulate to 350 without getting sprayed with hot oil.

    I retired my first turkey pot after 100 turkeys and an well on my way to retiring pot #2.

    Never burned once. But, I pay attention, and ensure that the oil NEVER GOES ABOVE 375.

    375 degrees, you say? Yes indeed. The oil temp drops rapidly when you lower the bird, and it takes a long time for it to come back to 350, which is the ultimate deep frying temp.

    Remember what the 3 enemies of your oil are : Water, Salt, and excessive temperature.

  3. As an Englishman i am fascinated by the frying of a Turkey!

    We like to roast ours, mmm goose fat, nice. We did however suffer from lots of chip pan fires, but i think a damp tea towel just wouldn’t cut it when trying to extinguish a Turkey fryer!

    I thought there may be a use for a remote thermometer in there somewhere.

    Also trying to put out an oil fire with water holy crap!

  4. A deep fried turkey is just so much more tasty than oven-roasting it. The deep-frying helps the turkey contain more moisture, while oven-baked turkey tends have dehydrated white meat.

  5. Never, EVER, attack a fire fuelled by oil (first video) with water. If it is safe to do so, use a fire blanket to starve the fire of oxygen or use the appropriate extinguisher.

    Search ‘oil fire water’ on YouTube and watch the first video to see what happens.

  6. @Captain_Zilog

    For pussies? So you think it is perfectly acceptable and desirable to risk life and property for a properly fried bird? We get it, you’re the best turkey frier this side of the Rio Grande. Congratulations. I live by the “better safe than sorry” life philosophy when it comes to food. I’ll save my risky business for something more macho than cooking. One would think that eating and preparing over 100 fried turkeys that you might want to find a healthier food source. I don’t think I’ve even eaten that many turkey dinners in my life (not counting cold cut turkey sandwiches…).

  7. I take exception with Mr. Brown drilling holes in his ladder when attaching the cleat. One should never potentially compromise the structural integrity of a ladder in that fashion. I’d also be a little wary of trusting a ladder which had been broiled over a fire…..

  8. @DeltaFalcon

    Which is exactly what they did. Watch it closer, what do you think that thing he plopped down on it was? A rug saturated in water and kept saturated, so that it would not burn.

    However, I really love how the fools left the gas connected the whole time.

  9. just put the lid on the pot. Duh. No air gets to the burning oil it stops burning. If the turkey sticks out of the pot you need to get a bigger pot. If you can’t do either of these you have now business cooking and should stick to Mc Donalds.

  10. Get the extinguisher! Mmm Borate Bird… How tasty!

    A little over two years ago, just prior to the Econolypse of 2007, a building crew got together and decided to celebrate finishing off a house, and decided to deep fry a turkey in the garage. Well, they finished off the house alright…

    Burnt the garage off it as well as the end wall and one room that had an open window.

  11. As i think the third englishman to show his face i’m still none the wiser as to why you deep fry. You say its to maintain moisture but only a badlyu oven roasted turkey dries out, you could it right and it’ll just the same (albeit sans heart attack inducing grease) as deep frying it….just my thought anyway….still funny to watch what people do when everything goes pear shaped!

  12. I have to give it to the guy in the first video. You have to be desperate or just plain moronic to attempt to put out a grease fire with WATER!
    Nice oil vapor flame though.

    And I agree with Alton brown. Standing over a huge pot of boiling oil holding a turkey with a short handled hook is just STUPID. Demonstrated by the retard in the second video.

  13. As stated previously, the only reason you dry out a turkey when cooking it in the oven is because YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO COOK PROPERLY. I’m sorry if it hurts the feelings of some of you “macho” guys but it’s just true. Alton Brown only offers the safe way to do that because he doesn’t want a bunch of idiots to kill themselves or others but his method of roasting a turkey has gotten me massive praise over the years and I’d never cooked a turkey until I saw his reasoning behind the science of cooking one.

  14. My family has a restaurant, and we close it down to have Thanksgiving there most years, so we can fit the whole family. We tried deep frying a turkey for the first time 3 or 4 years ago, and it was hands down the best turkey I’ve ever had.

    My father was completely against the idea of a deep fried bird, until we gave him a piece of turkey from each and let him pick which was better (he chose the fried one, obviously) They don’t absorb much grease at all, contrary to what most people would think, and even if you do roast your turkey properly, the meat is STILL more juicy this way.

    As long as you’re extremely careful with everything and get yourself acquainted with exactly what you’re doing beforehand, deep frying is by far the best way to cook a turkey. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

  15. Alton Brown is the hacker of cooks, and he is not likely going to take that ladder and build a house with it anytime soon. And nothing, nothing at all is macho about burning your house down. He is not talking to deep frying gurus, or oven-or-die people, he is talking to people who want to deep fry a turkey safely. Most of the idiots in these types of videos are doing it for the first time. However, if you feel that you need a new garage, or house, feel free to use a deep frier the size of your chest for the first time in your house.

    Alton Brown knows his stuff, probably why his show is so damned entertaining. He does to food what this site does for spare parts. He breaks the entire process of what he is doing down like a shotgun. Not only does he tell you what to do or not to do, but gives you detailed reasons why. He is actually more entertaining that the videos of people ruining a turkey dinner. Which is deeply entertaining. But I hate thinking about people burning down their homes, which I never consider cool. Or macho. Or even necessary.

  16. Another, and the most important reason for deep frying is the cooking time. 3 to 4 mimutes per pound. Which for a fifteen pound bird is just 45 to 60 minutes! It still has to sit for half an hour to redistribute the juices, but a roasted bird requires that too. And they do taste better.
    Got to kep a close eye on it though. Alton’s command to stay in the vicinity is a must! There are so many variables that can go wrong.

  17. I don’t think of frying turkeys as life-risking, nor do I feel it is macho or manly. Fact is that cooking in general can be dangerous. I’m sure more people burn their house down per year trying to fry eggs or even make toast, than with turkey fryers. Of course these are the types of people in those videos that didn’t monitor the oil temperature or knew what was going to happen next after the oil started smoking.

    It’s just a matter of time before those guys in the top videos burn their house down because they leave their normal grills on their wooden porch and don’t seem to be good cooks. I hope for their sake that their wives do all the cooking in the kitchen.

    Point is, some people are going to cook their whole lives without cutting or burning themselves, while others are going to be careless and hurt themselves or endanger others while trying to cook anything, anywhere.

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